A major faction of the Pakistani Taliban on Wednesday announced it was splitting from the militant outfit following bloody clashes with a rival group since March.
The faction is led by Khalid Mehsud, also known as Said Sajna.
A spokesman, Azam Tariq, said on May 28 that the faction — based in the South Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border — was no longer part of the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
In a statement, he said the faction had differences with the TTP leadership, which he alleged had become involved in extortion, kidnapping for ransom, and other such crimes.
The faction also reportedly had disagreements with the TTP over the issue of peace talks with the government.
Mehsud was a contender for the TTP leadership after its former chief, Hakimullah Mehsud, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in November 2013. The leadership post eventually went to Maulana Fazlullah.
Differences within the TTP emerged when its founding leader, Baitullah Mehsud, was killed in a drone strike in 2009.
They came to a head in 2013 when Mr Mehsud\’s successor, Hakimullah Mehsud, was killed in another drone strike.